Liberia: Foul Play?

22 September 2019

Following last week's horrific fire disaster at an Islamic school in Bassa Town, Paynesville that left at least 28 students burnt to death, a youth group here, National Fula Youth Council of Liberia (NFYCL) suspects the incident is a terroristic attack, citing two previous experiences.

Addressing a news conference in Monrovia Sunday, September 22, National Youth Leader of the NFYCL, Mohamed Alie Bah, claimed there had been two unsuccessful attacks on the school, narrating that the first attack was in 2018 between 7:00 and 8:00 PM when huge smoke emanated from the bathroom of the campus, which drew every one's attention in the mosque, adding that when they rushed there, all they could see was a bounce of cloth with heavy fire on it.

He further disclosed that the second occurrence took place in the same year in a similar way, noting that when these two previous attacks took place, the Iman of the mosque informed the community and its leadership which later informed the Liberia National Police (LNP) about the happenings.However, Mohamed explains the police promised to have investigated the matter, but since then they have yet to give a feedback, regarding the incidents.

"We cannot conclude on the recent incident that took place, as investigation is ongoing, but with facts gathered from previous attacks, we suspect a terroristic attack. Therefore, we are calling on the Government of Liberia (GOL) to conduct a forensic investigation on both this matter and previous attacks", he demands.

He calls on all Liberians especially, the Muslim Community here to be calm during this moment of sorrow, as they patiently await outcome from the ongoing investigation, while expressing deepest sorrow and condolences to the bereaved families and the Government of Liberia (GOL) for the tragic occurrence.Mohamed urges that the alleged attacks on the school has to stop, because, they cannot go to school or in bed thinking that such situation would ever occur again.

Last week Wednesday, September 18, raging fire dreadfully consumed at least 28 persons most of them students at an Islamic dormitory in Bassa Town Community, Paynesville where the kids go to recite Holy Quran lessons. It was a scene of sorrow and tears on account of the tragedy that hit the Quran Memory Institute, as community dwellers struggled unsuccessfully to rescue the 28 dying kids who could not stop screaming for help through the hot iron bar windows until they were finally consumed painfully by the fire.

Meanwhile, during a special condolence ceremony held at the 17th Street Mosque in Sinkor, Monrovia on Sunday, 22 September, the Ambassador of Guinea accredited to Liberia Ambassador Abdoulaye Dore, called on the Liberia National Police to conduct speedy investigation into the incident and release findings to establish actual cause of the tragedy that kept the entire country in shock.

In a related development, a high-leveled Guinean delegation arrived in the country for the condolence ceremony, which also witnessed several institutions, individuals, business establishments, and religious institutions including the Bethel Church in Oldest Congo Town paying tributes, respectively to the deceased and making financial donations for the welfare of victims' families. By Emmanuel Mondaye

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